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Things You Should Know Before Moving to Finland

A country of outstanding natural beauty with its dense forests, majestic lakes and towering mountains, it’s not difficult to understand why anyone would want to move there. And in so doing, you may well end up unlocking the secret to eternal happiness.

Finnish people

The Finns tend to be a self-reflective race, not overly keen on small talk. In fact, it’s not unusual to walk into a room full of people and be greeted with a hello, followed by an extended period of silence as everyone contemplates their own thoughts. For people experiencing the Finns for the first time, they can sometimes come across as unfriendly or disinterested - but this isn’t the case. Normally Finnish people only talk when they have something important to say. Quite refreshing, actually!

Weather

A country not known for its tropical climate, Finland can still reach temperatures of around the mid-twenties (Celsius) in the summer. For the rest of the time though, yes, Finland can be cold with an average temperature of minus 5 degrees in the winter in Helsinki and in northern parts of the country. It’s not unusual for temperatures to reach minus 20 in winter.

Geography

Located in northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia, Finland is the fifth largest country in Europe with its capital city, Helsinki, which, after Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital. Most of the Finnish country is lowland and approximately 68% of it is covered in forest. An undulating landscape, Finland has thousands of rocky islands with the main group being the Aland. Finland also has more than 187,000 lakes, most of which are connected by small rivers, making Finland a country of outstanding beauty.

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Shoe customs

You should always take your shoes off before entering somebody’s house (even your own). Occasionally, you may come across a formal invitation whereby you can keep your shoes on but in general, it’s a case of ‘shoes off or else’. Bearing this in mind, it often pays to give some thought as to which socks to wear for certain occasions – just be mindful of holes.

Vintage, anyone?

Finland is a country of vintage-lovers with a huge range of flea markets, boutiques and second-hand shops to choose from. Buying second-hand in Finland is completely normal, not to mention a great way of saving a few pennies. Clothes shopping in mainstream stores can be expensive so it’s worthwhile seeking out the best deals at local markets before buying anything brand new. Uniquely, in Finland, many shopping centres have what is known as ‘recycling rooms’ where you can pick up clothes for free and leave ones you don’t need for other people – very charitable!

Women’s rights

Finland was the second country in the world and the first in Europe to give women the right to vote in 1906. This was also the year they were given the right to stand in Parliament. Today, more than one third of members of the Finnish Parliament are women and the country has had a female President since the year 2000.

Midnight sun

Finland enjoys two spectacular natural phenomena: White Nights and Polar Nights. In the summer, the northern parts of Finland experience the lightest time of year, known as white nights. During this time, the sun doesn’t set for 73 days. Conversely, in winter, between the months of November and January, the sun doesn’t rise for 51 days. This period of dark wintertime is known as the Polar Night or kaamos in Finnish, and it’s this time of year when the Northern Lights are most visible. And your luck could be in if you happen to come across such a spectacle, as according to an old Asian belief, anyone who witnesses the Northern Lights will live happily forever!